BAD CHOICES: Shaye Stephens leaves Hervey Bay District Court after sentencing.
BAD CHOICES: Shaye Stephens leaves Hervey Bay District Court after sentencing. Alistair Brightman

Birthday present used as getaway car in serious crime

A GIFT of a car on her 18th birthday turned out to be Shaye Rhonda Umu Stephens' undoing.

It marked the point when her life took a sinister route.

With the newly found freedom of owning a set of wheels, she decided to move out of her family home, began taking illicit drugs and got involved in crime.

The now 19-year-old fronted Hervey Bay District Court on Friday for using the car, which was a present from her family, to help young men flee the scene where they had mugged a grandma.

After 69-year-old Jill Baker was assaulted while walking on Freshwater St in Torquay, her attackers jumped into Stephens' car and the group drove away.

Stephens pleaded guilty to being an accessory to a robbery, after the fact.

Initially, Stephens denied she was aware the robbery had taken place prior to driving off.

But the truth has since come out.

The group didn't make it far in their getaway attempt on May 22 last year and were found at a home shortly after the mugging, and were subsequently arrested.

The court heard Stephens moved back with her family almost immediately after the incident.

Currently, she reside in Takura.

Judge Julie Ryrie told Stephens she simply should not have let the offenders into her car.

Despite noting that Stephens had no involvement with the robbery itself, which left the elderly victim with a broken hip, Judge Ryrie said the young woman's involvement was still a "serious offence".

Defence barrister John Milburn spoke of Stephens' positive relationship with her mother, and the help she provided in caring for her siblings.

Mr Milburn said her mum had describing losing her daughter to "drugs and bad choices" during the period of rebellion.

Her mother was present in the courtroom on Friday supporting Stephens.

Stephens - who has certificates in the hospitality industry - volunteers at Fraser Lakes Golf Club.

She was placed on a two-year probation order and has to complete 40 hours of community service.

No conviction was recorded.



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